Mendelssohn and Brahms with the Berlin Philharmonic
In March 2022, the Monteverdi Choir and John Eliot Gardiner travelled to Berlin to perform a programme of Mendelssohn and Brahms with the Berlin Philharmonic. Over three concerts, the Choir showcased two great Romantic works for choir and orchestra in its first performances with the world renowned orchestra.
Brahms Schicksalslied, Op. 54
Mendelssohn Symphony No. 2 in B flat major ‘Lobgesang’, Op. 52
The Saturday 19 March was live streamed on the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall – click here for more info
Brahms composed the Schicksalslied (Song of Fate) between 1868 and 1871 – a period of prolific composing for chorus and orchestra, which also saw the completion of Rinaldo, the Alto Rhapsody, and the Triumphlied. It is a choral setting of Friedrich Hölderlin’s poem ‘Hyperions Schicksalslied’, which pits the blissful serenity of the gods above against the hurlyburly of human life below. Throughout the work Brahms creates subtle effects of orchestral colouration to complement the chorus and to amplify the text, but ends with a purely orchestral coda – ‘I even say something that the poet does not say’, Brahms remarked.
Composed during his time in Leipzig, Mendelssohn’s Second Symphony ‘Lobgesang’ (‘Hymn of Praise’) takes the hybrid form of a Symphony-Cantata, blending secular and sacred styles and taking the audience on a spiritual journey to enlightenment. Melodious choruses, duets and arias trace a path leading from darkness into a radiant vision of a better world.